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The Bird Of Flame

Source: The Book Of Nature Myths

When the Great Spirit saw the work of the flames, he was very angry.
"The fires of this mountain must perish," he said. "No longer shall its
red flames light the midnight sky."

The mountain trembled with fear at the angry words of the Great Spirit.
"O father of all fire and light," cried the Fire Spirit, "I know that
the flames have been cruel. They killed the beautiful flowers and drove
your children from their homes, but for many, many moons they heeded my
words and were good and gentle. They drove the frost and cold of winter
from the wigwams of the village. The little children laughed to see
their red light in the sky. The hearts of your people will be sad, if
the flames must perish from the earth."

The Great Spirit listened to the words of the gentle Spirit of Fire, but
he answered, "The fires must perish. They have been cruel to my people,
and the little children will fear them now; but because the children
once loved them, the beautiful colors of the flames shall still live to
make glad the hearts of all who look upon them."

Then the Great Spirit struck the mountain with his magic war-club. The
smoke above it faded away; its fires grew cold and dead. In its dark and
gloomy heart only one little flame still trembled. It looked like a
star. How beautiful it was!

The Great Spirit looked upon the little flame. He saw that it was
beautiful and gentle, and he loved it. "The fires of the mountain must
perish," he said, "but you little, gentle flame, shall have wings and
fly far away from the cruel fires, and all my children will love you as
I do." Swiftly the little thing rose above the mountain and flew away in
the sunshine. The light of the flames was still on its head; their
marvelous colors were on its wings.

So from the mountain's heart of fire sprang the first humming-bird. It
is the bird of flame, for it has all the beauty of the colors of the
flame, but it is gentle, and every child in all the earth loves it and
is glad to see it fluttering over the flowers.

Next: The Story Of The First Butterflies

Previous: The Frolic Of The Flames

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